[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 9: No Iskra In Team


Despite misgivings, Noble bunkered down in her apartment with cheap wine and mint Polky sticks and tried her best to back up the Philosophy Student’s campaign of righteous terror.

Terror was bad, obviously, but, as Angela explained it, not always bad.

‘Bad against our side is bad, bad against fascists is mandatory, but bad against infiltrators is good. Who’s an infiltrator? That’s the key. Use your filter. Same way protestors sniff out undercover cops. You have a filter? Old standard? Doesn’t matter. It’s still usable for our needs.’

‘Okay, I think I understand, but…’ Noble stroked the top of her metal arm. It was tough. The last few days, there had been a lot of lectures, or re-orientation as the Philosophy Student labelled it, and most of it made her circuits tired. ‘I don’t know,’ she added, realising she was being stared at.

‘Don’t think too much. Use your gut. Your filter. And if you’re unsure, just follow the names on this list.’

Angela pulled out four pages of small text names, some of them familiar, some of them unknown, a few of them crossed out.

‘It’s still a little vague,’ said Noble, reading from the bottom up.

‘Which part?’

‘All of them. For instance, how do I know for certain who’s an infiltrator?’

Angela shook the list of names, making a rustling sound.

‘Aren’t they the honest ones?’

‘Hang on.’ Angela went in her jacket pocket and pulled out another list, this one as thick as a small novel. ‘These are the traitors.’

Noble examined the first page and stopped on the fourth name down. ‘I know this person.’

‘You’ll know a lot of them, I’m sure.’

‘But…she’s left-wing.’

‘Fake left.’

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[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 8: What Isn’t To Be Done?


When Noble got back home, the door was unlocked and the Philosophy Student was still-life on the couch with a laptop on her crotch.

‘How did you get in?’

‘Forced the lock.’

‘I didn’t know you could do that.’

‘I can’t…’ She pointed at the wheelchair lady on the other side of the room, throwing an orange up and down. ‘Katya can.’

‘What are you doing here?’

‘Continuing the struggle.’


The Philosophy Student held up her laptop and twisted it around until Noble could see a white-on-black forum site on the screen.

‘See this? The right-wing fuckers are trying to spam a new Native American actress-stroke-film-maker-stroke KOL, you know, to suppress her voice. So we’re making sure there’s some balance.’

‘That’s nice.’

‘It’s harder than you think, actually, Nobes. Most people would just bite back, but the way we do it is, we bite back, claro, but we do it in a way that makes anyone reading it sway to our side.’

‘How do you do that?’

‘Deflect five times then thrust.’

‘What does that mean?’

‘Too long to explain, but the point is…’ Detroit came in from the corridor, carrying his own laptop, and sat down on the floor next to the Philosophy Student. ‘What you got, Dee?’



‘Mutt Damon.’

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[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 7: Danger: Yum Cha


The next morning, the Scientist asked Noble if she’d been stagnant in Hong Kong all this time or whether she’d used her robot brain and come up with any practical left-wing theories.

‘My slow robot brain?’

‘Or non-practical left-wing ideas. Anarchist ideas. Anything new would be welcome.’

‘Should we have breakfast first?’

‘Or are you also in the grip of the fake left?’

Noble got up and put on her Death to Servalan t-shirt. ‘There’s a yum cha place across the street. It’s full of right-wing elderly people, but you won’t mind as you won’t understand what they’re saying.’

‘You have been following the world, haven’t you?’

‘Is that a no to yum cha?’

‘You haven’t checked out…’


‘Fine, eat first. But you can’t dodge forever.’


At the yum cha restaurant, Noble tried to order, but didn’t understand what the waitress said back to her. When she couldn’t catch it a second time, she just nodded and said, no need.

The waitress looked at her like she was a physics textbook and walked off.

‘Do they not understand English?’

‘Not here.’

‘Must be tough.’

‘It’s my fault, not theirs.’ Noble started washing the bowls and chopsticks. ‘What’s this fake left you keep trying to group me with?’

The Scientist took the lid off the teapot, peered inside then put it back on.

‘It’s a kind of tea.’


‘Not poison.’

The Cuban smiled then leaned back in her chair and talked for thirteen minutes straight about the fake left, referencing terms and phrases Noble had never heard of, explaining the myth of Janus, mentioning wealth and class struggle before leaning forward and trying to sum it all up in one line: ‘Basically, it’s a bunch of rich people heading off change by asking for change.’

‘I’m not sure that makes sense.’

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Baise-Moi // Maddison Stoff


Last time I watched Baise Moi, I remembered being struck by how much of the rape I had forgotten. There’s an irony to that. I can’t remember the first time I was sexually assaulted either. In fact, I was unaware of how many of those experiences I’d already had the first time that I watched the movie too.

I had a thing for banned films when I was younger. Part of it was pure teen rebellion: my parents were relatively strict about enforcing age ratings for media on me as a child, causing me to have a harder time relating to my peers. I grew to resent censorship because of that, and when I came of age, I used the internet to watch as many movies as I could that my government had claimed were not appropriate for distribution in Australia.

The other reason I did it was because it was impossible for me to feel a lot about movies back then. My autism, and my (then unknown,) gender dysphoria made it difficult for me to see myself in almost any character, and for that reason I struggled to relate to them. But for some reason, when I watched Baise Moi, I saw myself in both of the protagonists. They are women practically defined by anger: they exist as weapons levelled at the patriarchy, whose violence eventually finds them once the movie ends.

I didn’t know that people like me could be women then, which made it even weirder. I never would have guessed that my affinity was for them coming from the anger I’d been cultivating about that. I didn’t even have the confidence to talk about my love of it for many years. I was so worried about that love being misconstrued, and therefore violated. But without knowing the reason why that caused me anger, there was nothing I could do.

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[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 6: Very Cold Very Grey


To most foreigners, Hong Kong was a good way to live in China without bothering with the language. Who spoke Cantonese? Locals. And the only ones worth anything all knew English. Those that didn’t, fuck them.

That’s what the drunk American had told Noble in a bar just off Hollywood Road, and it was a mantra that repulsed Noble so much that the same night she heard it, she went back home and searched for her first Learn Cantonese in seven minutes video.

Every day for three weeks she would repeat different words out loud, and trace the strokes of basic Chinese characters and whenever she felt like quitting, she remembered the American and

when that didn’t work

she’d indulge in fantasies

where the Cubans would turn up and ask her to show them around and when Noble took them to the yum cha restaurant near her flat she’d be able to do everything in fluent Cantonese.


The fourth week, the drunk American became so vague in her head that he started to resemble a 190cm silhouette of Peter Falk, but still she continued with the Cantonese


and without spoken practise

cos speaking would involve getting up off the couch and meeting people

new people

and that was no good.


At home

on the couch

Noble stared defiant at the textbook she’d loaned from Shatin library, but the text was too black and the page too cream and none of it was connected to reality.

‘No one understands me,’ she muttered to the table under the textbook. ‘Why is this so hard? I’m a robot. I learnt Slovene in two hours. This should be child’s play.’

The Spanish drama on the TV

linked from online

kept playing in the background

the two actresses telling each other, don’t worry, we’ll get the bastard, there’s no friends left to bail him out.

Noble closed the textbook, picked up the bottle of Tsing Tao and slumped back on the couch, getting through four more episodes before the leash of routine took her to bed.

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[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 5: She, Not It


One year later, after locating, exhuming and defiling the old man’s skeleton, as was practised in most of human history, the left-wing robot settled down in the jazz bar near Baracoa and told the two Cuban women that they were by far the best friends in the whole wide world, and that even if John Cusack walked into the bar right there, right then, it wouldn’t matter, the robot still wouldn’t go into the bathroom with him.

‘We love you too, Noble Wu.’

‘Even if your name is strange.’

‘I told you,’ said the left-wing Robot [now called Noble Wu], ‘she was a great woman.’

‘We’ll take your word for it.’

‘Chinese history is not one of our specialist topics.’

‘She was a poet, a dissident, an actress, she came from nothing and almost invented the submarine. If the Mongolians hadn’t swung by, she would’ve…’ Noble Wu paused, putting coffee into her artificial stomach. ‘I learnt Chinese history in five hours, you can too.’

The Scientist glanced at the Philosophy Student, squinting slightly. It may have indicated something, but Noble didn’t know what so ignored it and continued on, telling them about the Song dynasty and how it was interesting cos it focused on culture instead of war before ultimately succumbing to those types who focused on war instead of finger-painting and nature poems.

‘You learnt all of that in five hours?’ asked the Scientist when Noble was done.

‘More or less.’

‘Five consecutive hours?’

‘I was curious, and there were lots of books. Translations, of course, but still good. Really, you should read about it too. China has an interesting history. Not as repetitive and one-note as their nationalists say.’

‘Whose nationalists?’

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[De-Con-Struc] Childlike Life Of The Black Tarantula // Kathy Acker


Title: The Childlike Life Of The Black Tarantula

Author: Kathy Acker

Premise: meshing of historical women killing for good/dubious reason with Acker inserted sometimes in brackets pushing on from within ecstatic self-destruction/paranoia.

Publisher: Grove Press


How much can be unleashed before exhaustion?

Euphoria > exhaustion > guilt [at exhaustion]


I become a murderess.

I’m born in the late autumn or winter of 1827.

Troy,  New York.


Acker was born in 1947, 1948 and 1944.

Into wealth yet refused to act that way acted exactly that way that some act when they’re born into wealth and can’t stand it want to escape do porn stripping file clerk work.


Everyone hates me they just want to fuck me they don’t want to fuck me.


Contradictions bold in the same sentence suffocated commas this paranoia laid out can be mesmeric at times a kind of truth [I load up Japanese father fucks daughter at mum’s wake let it run on no skips to penetration shot work myself up slow lethargic strokes faintly bored blur out father aspect not on purpose she’s too old to be real daughter better than watching genuine teen fuck finish up wipe off machinate sit there dead cold stare out at hawk flying past window know that it knows yeah let it be don’t have a gun anyway wasn’t her real father doesn’t mean anything watched a dog fuck a girl once not that immoral] truth that can be permitted doesn’t hollow Acker out in a way that might make her truly uncomfortable/abject. Go too wretched or too Id, or the layer above the Id with partial control on your part, and only way left is suicide.

Counterpoint: confession permitted Acker to keep going, keep writing, bracketed her.

I don’t know.

What else was there, if not this?

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[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 4: Okay, Cuban Hero


One month later, in a factory somewhere in the Philippines, thousands of sweaty, enervated, two dollar a day workers connected pieces of salvaged metal to other pieces of metal and told the pink American in clipped English that they’d have another hundred ready by the end of the week.

The pink American nodded, half listening, half back in Miami with his wife and kids, wondering if they’d have enough money to put water in their swimming pool that summer.

Ten years ago, it wouldn’t have been a problem,

but now times were tight

and water had to be paid for.

One of the robots slid past on the chute towards the programming lab and opened its eyes, observing the pink American and the workers, hearing their conversation, both the words and the tones, and thinking one surprisingly clear thought,

why are they serving the sunburnt slob?

That’s not right.

The thought continued through the rest of its assembly and the rest of its conditioning and its forced reading of the Daily Mail and Atlas Shrugged until, finally, an old man who’d once been a cowboy appeared on a TV screen in the lab and said, ‘son, you’re an American. And American means special. Constitution, first rate, history, courageous, technological innovation, oh yeah. And we’re all of us right here free. Free citizens of the freest nation in the history of this world and the hereafter. Best and fairest nation in history too. Better and fairer than Communist China. Better than Immigrant-loving Germany. Way better than that Atheist, Socialist swill pit Sweden.

But that there’s a cross to bear, son.

See, when you’re as special as we are, you start to pick up enemies. And that’s what we’ve got us now. Enemies who despise our very way of life. Enemies who want to eradicate Christian godliness from the planet. Yes, it’s true, these enemies are sometimes vague. They can be slippery. And they do lurk everywhere. Mostly in the costume of foreign devils but occasionally domestic devils, also. Enemies, devils, hiding out there like cowards in every nook and cranny.

Now what we gotta do, son, is get out there. Get out there and knock those godless bastards down. Show them how tough and true we are in our very core.

And that’s your job, to show them that. Those enemy devil Communists. Those godless thugs. Show them what American bullets feel like in their miserable Communist souls. Or American bombs in their miserable Communist souls, whichever works best. Godless enemies, devils, Communists. Crush them all, son, the whole bunch of them. Crush their godless Commie vocal chords, pull out their godless Commie tongues, break their godless Commie typing fingers. Don’t let them Commie devils talk. Don’t let them write. Don’t let them learn sign language or how to gesture dramatically. Crush. Kill. Eradicate. Good luck, son.’

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[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 3: Martyr Mode


The mission was set for eight the next morning.

All selected left-wing robots stood patiently in line, on reserve power, until the clock struck GO.

They thought of the concepts of fear and anxiety but had nothing to attach them to, so, without instinct, they ignited their rocket boots and flew to the hills of Caracas where they did what the Philosophy Student had instructed them to do. They met the poor and the criminals and the manual workers and the activists and the nurses and the teachers and the assholes who spat on the ground and stared at them like they were walking demons, which was irritating as they’d read Childhood’s End and seen what the aliens thought about humans fearing anything devil-like and it was really disappointing to see they were right, humans were like this, they just couldn’t switch off their prejudices.

The left-wing robots cornered one of the less frightened residents and informed them of this observation.

‘You’re robots…’

Si. Why don’t they like us?’

‘They’re scared.’

‘The children aren’t.’

‘Cos they’re too young to know any better.’

‘You’re not.’

‘I am, actually.’

The left-wing robot initiated a scan of the woman’s internal systemics and squinted. ‘Why are you talking to us if you are scared?’

‘You’ve got me pinned in a corner.’

Dipping its head jarringly, the left wing robot took three steps back. ‘I still don’t understand why the others are scared. Are they ignorant? Too far gone?’

‘Wah, stop saying that, it’s not their fault,’ replied the woman, edging out of the corner and into the middle of the street. ‘Your skin is metal, you’re large, your faces aren’t moving, like Terminator, Robocop, Chopping Mall.’

‘Those are movies?’

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The American Scream // Rebecca Gransden


The American Scream dream-light plays and flickers over abandoned space, where long walkways fade. Looped screenings overlap, projected onto the crumbling interior walls of the last dead mall standing in the States, a construction scheduled for demolition on a prophesied future date. Kids of skateboarders sit with their backs propped up against certain inner walls, their mouths slacked open, as the overlayed and out of sync projections run. There is no obvious source of origin for the film, no projector—only projectees, imbibing the images as a sunken parade. Circumfused score and dialogue clang into an atonal echo, while badly overdubbed undercarriages numb into a collective hymn to discordance.

In a pan-textually nonexistent booth between planes, a pity party projectionist sells his soul to a screen demon and fuses with the machine, his life force propelling the unit’s motion in a perpetual spasm of winding muscle.

Silent Disco Reverse Screaming Sucks

The kids grope for an unearned nostalgia analgesic, tanked as blank receptacles, their souls clawing out amygdala residuum. Gormless rhesus shrieks break out and fuse with the film noise, dimmed consciousness behind vocalisations in syncopated cutthroat singing. A stridulant chorus of reconstituted transhumanist dogma reabsorbs its own unspooling spiel, in an hellacious upwelling of klazomania.

David Lynch’s Family Evacuation

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